If you search Google Images for “kitchen backsplash mosaics,” you can see some good work, but you will also see way too many photos of beige and gray tile work that really doesn’t help too much in the way of inspiration, especially if you are wanting to make an original figurative mosaic or use colors other than the monotonous earth tones that dominate the coverings industry.
Artist Heather Speers emailed me some photos of her recent kitchen backsplash mosaic, and it is a solid example of how figurative mosaics rendered in brighter colors can work for this location.
TIP: Note how the intense colors in backsplash are tamed and effectively muted by using them in variegated color washes (mixed color fields) instead of large monochrome areas. These same tiles could look a lot more intense and a lot less subtle if they were arranged so that all tiles of a given color were grouped together.
Heather contacted us because she was unsure which grout color to use. Originally she thought she might need to use different colored grout in different areas, but I pointed out several reasons why this wouldn’t be necessary:
- Heather used a fairly tight grout gap, and this is the best way to minimize the visual impact of the grout color. (Note that the grout gap was still wide enough to be grouted instead of tiles being pressed together with a hairline crack in between, which is impossible to grout reliably and seal out water.)
- A black or dark gray grout makes colors look more intense.
- Even if a dark grout color too closely matched the color of the tree branches, the overall mosaic effect would not be lost overall because the branches were relatively narrow and long and made up only a small part of the mosaic.
TIP: Note how the ungrouted mosaic in the photo above looks not much different from the finished grouted mosaic. If you want to minimize the impact grouting has on the look and feel of your mosaic, use a relatively narrow grout gap like Heather did instead of working loosely and leaving large gaps. Grout color isn’t likely to be problematic if it is only a thin line between tiles.
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